Secret Pop

Dec 19, 2005

What You Leave Behind

I've been doing a lot of reorganizing. I got my apartment halfway tidy, and then I decided to just redo it all. At the moment, that means, most of my books are in stacks on the floor. It's coming along, but I couldn't have anyone over right now without having to waste their time with a lot of apologies and explanations.

In the process, I've been finding things I'd forgotten. And sifting through things I'd put away with the express intention of sparing myself having to look at them again. Time. Wound-healer. Some of those things I was actually able to take out of the box and re-introduce into circulation. Some of the sting is gone. An ache gone dull ages ago but never tested. I went looking for a few books. One because I sold it on Amazon and now need to pack it up and ship it to someone. The other just because it occurred to me that I know I own this book, but I can't seem to find it. I wasn't able to find either. The one I've sold is a tragedy, because that's twenty dollars I will have to refund. The other one is less of a big deal. I just ordered another copy. But it still nags at me. I know I own that book. I know it. I just can't figure out where I might have tucked it away, whether for self-preservation or for space-saving.

That book, the less of a big deal one, is a Star Trek novel. A Deep Space Nine novel, to be more exact. When I went online to rebuy it, I found that there is a novelization of the final episode of the series called What You Leave Behind. And just seeing the title made me think again of that show and how devoted I was to watching it every Sunday night. And how sad it made me to watch that final episode and to see the disposition of everyone's lives. He ends up with her. He ends up alone. He'll come back someday. She'll wait for him. It's what made graduations sad. The diaspora everyone embarks on. Not always in opposite directions but never on exactly the same path.

I watch Deep Space Nine on television a lot these days, so it has lost some of its rarity. There was a time when a DS9 marathon would thrill me right to my Tivo. Or when I applauded the various networks who carried an episode a week in some late night time slot. Spike TV has spoiled me. But it doesn't make me any less grateful when I get to see those several episodes I really love. I sometimes feel as if I just keep living my life over the same few points, hitting the same notes each time I pass them. Reliving. Sometimes the nostalgia is welcome. Sometimes less so. I've been able to be less sentimental at times. I've been able to steel myself against the habit of remembering. I've been able to adjust the lens a little and see things more accurately. But it doesn't change that event of transportation I experience. Being thrown into a sense memory.

I haven't left enough behind. I carry far too much with me. You should see me trying to get on a plane.

But maybe some of the colors are fading. Some of the candy coating has grown moth-eaten and dull. I'm learning that you don't have to keep a stock of everything on hand. You can get new things when you need them. You might have to leave the house, but it can be done.

It's not just the stuff with me. I can get rid of the stuff. It's the memory of the stuff and the getting of the stuff and the use of the stuff. I was folding up some shopping bags, and I found a store receipt. It was from Counterpoint, that used book and record store on Franklin. And it was from April of 2003, and I remember exactly when I was there who I was with and what I was wearing and what I bought. I remember every tick of it. I had the same thing happen with a Jack in the Box receipt I found on the floor of my car once. Receipts are like the Dead Zone for me. I pick them up and it's like having a psychic interlude. I guess I can't complain. Some people can't remember a thing. Maybe that's its own curse. But then when people get Alzheimer's, it's the people who aren't sick that suffer the most. The person who is sick lives in the bliss of not knowing that anything else has ever happened. And the people who love them grieve and wish that they could just remember that time they danced together or that meal they shared when it was raining. I feel like that's me. Struggling to reawaken some form of awareness in my senile dementia-ravaged surroundings. I'm the keeper of the history. But no one wants to hear the stories anymore. And a friend of mine just invited me to join a knitting circle. Clearly, I'm one hundred years old.

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